There are very few instances while watching a film where I contemplate just how I got to sitting in this seat, viewing such a spectacularly terrible feature. I don’t often like to ream films for being such blatant misfires creatively, but R.I.P.D. seems to be trying at an idea that is pretty dumb to begin with. Ryan Reynolds plays a cop who’s killed on duty by his partner, played by Kevin Bacon, and is sent to the “Rest in Peace Department,” to serve for 100 years before facing judgement. If this was supposed to be a film about a man coming to terms with his mistakes, then I might’ve missed that brief moment of development. The film seems too focused on gross-out jokes and riffs on being dead to actually hone in on anything worth watching.
I’m all for a film trying to have fun. Yet what R.I.P.D. doesn’t understand is that hearing Jeff Bridges mumble lines when I’d rather be watching him as the Dude is not entertaining. Nor are poorly rendered special effects that feel phony and out of place, surrounded by 3D that attempts to distance us from the film all the more. It should’ve tried a bit harder, because I couldn’t seem to leave the nagging presence the film carried. Every moment in the film seems to be built on the world continuing to create itself without establishing anything other than attempting to be witty. It hopes to be Men in Black, but feels more like White Chicks at times, with its odd sense of racism/sexism that comes along in peculiar ways.
Marisa Miller’s in the film, as is an old Chinese man. I would name the actor, but the film only cares about him being a stereotype who holds a banana as opposed to a gun. That’s the dead cop’s disguise to the real, living world. Oh brother. Attempting to explain the film’s plot is giving me a headache, but I’ll say this: the movie truly wants to be an explosive summer blockbuster. But these actors are playing lifeless roles, they’re delivering horribly one-note and straightforward lines, and the whole plot is ended on a very simple cop-out that doesn’t work. I laughed as the credits rolled; not because I thought the film was funny, but the experience was rather painful and maybe a laugh would ease the pain. It didn’t.
Grade: ★ (out of 5)